PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- In the midst of the controversy surrounding the viral video showing police and the Ames family, the Phoenix Police Department announced Wednesday that it is speeding up the roll-out process of body cameras for the officers.

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South Mountain was the third of seven precincts to get the cameras issued to officers. That should wrap up this week at that precinct.

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"I don't know yet if, how that would have played in differently,” said Sgt. Tommy Thompson on whether body cameras would have changed the events in the Ames case. “But certainly, having body worn camera provides the officers for the community to have an opportunity to see a little bit more of what they see."

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Phoenix Police ordered 2,000 body cams back in February, and officers have been training on their use.

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“Make sure that you guys are recording any time that you get a call for service, any enforcement activity, or any investigatory stops,” Sgt. KJ Johnson said at the training.

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A double click of the camera’s center button will vibrate to tell the officers the camera is saving what it’s capturing. By about mid-August, the agency plans to have all patrol officers and sergeants equipped with cameras – that’s about 1,200 officers.

“Once that's done we move to our downtown operations unit as well as our motorcycles officers. And then our next phase, our final phase, will be to our special assignments unit or our swat officers,” Thompson said.

Some officers won’t have cameras – like detectives whose interviews are already recorded, anyway. Extra cameras will be on standby for staff changes and repairs.

“When you go to the dock, I want you to set it on, make sure that it's illuminated. Make sure it's illuminated so it can charge and upload,” Johnson instructed.

Enormous servers are set up to save all the video evidence that gets uploaded from the docks each day.

The department plans to have 3,100 officers on staff by fiscal year 2020. At that point they would have 1,600 cameras deployed to bring more transparency to the public.

 


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